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Novembe 13, 2007

Mental Screening & Federal Curriculum for Preschoolers
H.R. 1429

        Is social-emotional (mental health) screening of very young children the purpose of Head Start? Re-authorization of the federal Head Start program, H.R. 1429, includes ongoing  assessments of children. Very young children will be continually screened and assessed based on the radical ideas of the National Association for the Education of Young Children. Psychological screening of young children increases the psychiatric labeling and drugging of children with ineffective and dangerous medications. This strategy will not eliminate poverty or raise academic achievement.

        H.R. 1429 requires Head Start curricula and assessments that include gender issues, diversity, multiculturalism, mental health, environmentalism, and careers for very young children. Federal bureaucrats will be setting childhood norms in controversial areas for our nation's very young children.  These required "outcomes" constitute a federal, centralized curriculum for preschoolers.

        Last May 1, EdWatch Action issued an Action Alert to oppose the Head Start re-authorization that the House was about pass (see roll call vote). The House version, however, included a positive amendment that required parental consent for mental screening of preschoolers. On June 19th, the Senate passed the bill without the parental consent requirement.

        The Parental Consent language was stripped from the bill and passed out of the House/Senate conference committee last week. In other words, parental oversight of the mental and behavioral screening of preschoolers has been deliberately removed from Head Start.

        Diagnostic criteria for mental disorders are extremely vague and subjective, as admitted by the US Surgeon General, the World Health Organization, and many psychiatric textbook authors. They are very difficult to accurately apply to young children. As a result of the New Freedom Commission recommendations for screening and drugging, this emphasis on mental health for very young children will result in increased screening and psychiatric drugging of infants and toddlers with drugs admitted to be ineffective and dangerous for children. (See here for details)

Language that was stripped from H.R. 1429 in conference committee:

(b) Requirement- Before administering any health care service to a child (or referring a child to obtain such service) in connection with participation in a program under this subchapter, a Head Start agency and an entity that receives assistance under section 645A shall obtain the written consent of a parent of such child indicating consent for each specific health care service to be performed.

Now Available from EdWatch, Newly updated
The Dangers of Mental Health Screening Briefing Book by Karen R. Effrem, M.D.
The book also comes with a CD of all its these articles, and a powerpoint presentation

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952-361-4931 www.edwatch.org - edwatch@lakes.com

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